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Here’s When You Should Change Your Health Insurance Plan

Has Your Family Grown Recently? You May Want to Consider Changing Your Insurance Plan

For many people, health insurance is one of those things that they don’t think about… until they need it. And let’s admit it- more than a few of us have picked plans semi-blindly, not having a true picture of the benefits or exactly what we’re getting into. While it’s not the best way to shop for health insurance; that approach nothing to be ashamed of; after all, insurance terminology can be complex to those who are unfamiliar with the business, and for those who are young and healthy, sometimes it’s easy to think “why would I need this if I rarely get sick?”

Time has a way of making sure we pay more attention to these things, which leaves some people unsure of whether their frustrations with health insurance plans are part of the status quo or are issues that should be fixed. This often leads people to wonder “how can I change my health insurance plan mid-enrollment?” While that’s another question for another day, here are a few ways to know when you should change your health insurance.

When You’re Paying for Preventative Care

By law, all ACA-compliant health plans- in other words, health insurance plans that meet the minimum standard of “Obamacare“- MUST include free access to preventative care services such as flu shots and blood pressure screenings (read more about the covered preventative services here). In addition, they must provide some level of coverage for mental health care, which we’ve covered in this article here.

If your health plan does not include coverage for these services, it’s time to consider a change.

When Your Healthcare Needs Have Changed

Have you just made it through “the other side” of a serious health condition? Have you made a major lifestyle change, such as losing a major amount of weight? Have you moved on from a job that involved a major amount of physical strain? These are all examples of major health changes that may cause some to consider dialing back their health insurance coverage.

When Your Family Needs Have Changed

Are you one of the 1.4% of Americans that have had a baby in the last year? Are you planning to have a new addition to your family soon? Will your partner be eligible for medicare within the next year? Then it may be time for you to evaluate changing health insurance plans to better suit your family’s needs.

When You Don’t Go to the Doctor… Because You Can’t Afford It

The whole point of having health insurance is to help reduce the cost of caring for one’s health. This is why one of the great ironies of our time is that thousands and thousands of people who have health insurance skip doctor’s visits when they’re sick or neglect refilling prescriptions… because it’s too expensive!

If this is the case, it’s definitely time to consider switching health plans. Even if you don’t switch health plans, then you may want to consider an HSA- a Health Savings Account- if it’s available through your health insurance provider.

Another Way to Find Out If You Should Change Your Health Insurance

There are many other situations that may cause people to consider changing their health insurance. Our team of experts can help you understand whether or not the time is right for you, and can help you find a plan that will suit your needs if you’re ready to change. Call the Health Plan Options Today team hotline at 888-375-8879 to speak with the team directly, or click the link below and we’ll get in touch with you.

Photo by Anastasiya Gepp from Pexels

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You Should Think About Using Your Health Insurance’s Mental Health Services

Mental health is no longer the taboo topic that it once was, and thanks to changes in health insurance law, mental health care is now more accessible than ever.

If one thing has changed in American healthcare over the last 10 years, aside from the emergence and acceptance of the Affordable Care Act, it has been our society’s increased acceptance of mental health services as an important part of healthcare.

Health Insurance For Mental Health

In decades past, mental health support was seen as something taboo, and was probably joked about in movies and tv shows more than it was taken seriously. Many people saw mental health services as something for “rich people” and “crazy people”, and in reality, these services were out of reach for most people. Mental health professionals were hard to find, and many health insurance plans did not support mental health services, so people had to pay out-of-pocket to access these services, making them unaffordable to much of the population.

The Laws That Changed Everything
Biden Signs Executive Order for ACA
President Obama and then-Vice President Biden in office in the early 2010’s. “Obamacare” marked a major national shift in access to mental health services.

In 1996, access to mental health coverage began to shift with the introduction of the Mental Health Parity Act. The Mental Health Parity Act, or MHPA for short, and its later relative, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, stated that employer-sponsored health insurance had to include mental health coverage, and insinuated that health insurance companies should treat mental health coverage as equal to other parts of medical coverage.

These laws proved to be a double-edged sword. On the positive end, they did help provide mental health benefits for people who did not have access to it before. The drawbacks were that there was no protection for those who had mental health issues as a pre-existing condition, so insurance companies could use mental health screenings as a reason to deny people. Also these laws did nothing to cover the millions of low-income people who didn’t have health plans, who (statistically speaking) were likely to be more in need of mental health services.

The Affordable Care Act

When the Affordable Care Act was introduced in 2010, it marked an even greater shift in the way Americans could access mental health care. At the time, the opioid crisis was peaking in America, and treatment was now seen as the morally correct way to address the issue (as opposed to jail time). A wide-ranging solution was needed.

The introduction of the Affordable Care Act provided a worthwhile solution. Mental health support was one of Obamacare’s original “10 essential services“, meaning that all health plans on the public healthcare marketplace had to include coverage for mental health services, and people could not be denied for pre-existing mental health issues. In addition, Medicaid and Medicare began covering mental health services as well. This was important because it set a precedent for health plans outside of the public marketplace to do the same in order to remain competitive. That being said, even 10 years later, mental health support is one of the most underused parts of health insurance.

What Type of Mental Health Services Does Health Insurance Cover?

Although the cost and extent of support available varies by plan, there are certain services that must be offered by every plan under the Affordable Care Act standard. They are as follows:

  • Behavioral Treatment (for example psychotherapy and counseling):
    • Outpatient individual counseling or group therapy sessions
    • Diagnostic services such as psychological evaluation and testing services
    • Ongoing outpatient treatment, including medication management and psychiatric treatment programs
  • Substance abuse (also known as substance use disorder) treatment:
    • Outpatient diagnostic and treatment services for chemical or alcohol dependency
    • Medical services for withdrawal symptoms, such as inpatient detoxification services
    • Substance use disorder recovery services, including counseling and educational resources
  • Mental and behavioral health inpatient services
    • Mental health care if you’re admitted to a psychiatric facility.
  • Additional provisions for preventative care
    • There are preventative care services in the ACA that pertain to mental health, such as depression and alcohol abuse screenings.

Once again, this is just a baseline; it is best to check with your health insurance provider to see exactly what services are provided via your plan.

Do You Need A Health Insurance Plan That Covers Mental Health Services?

If you think you need mental health services and don’t have health insurance, don’t fret. HealthPlanOptionsToday can help you find a plan that will get you started on the road toward wellness. Call us at 888-375-8879 for more information, or click the button below and we’ll get in touch with you.

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Pennsylvania Secedes From ACA (And Why Other States Are Doing It Too)

How and why Pennsylvania is leaving the Obamacare marketplace is part of a much larger trend. But don’t worry- that trend is geared toward helping people save money.

Affordable healthcare has been a primary talking point in politics since the launch of the Affordable Care Act in 2013, and since then, most states have used HealthCare.gov to serve individuals that purchase coverage. The marketplace is experiencing a new life after the regular enrollment period, thanks to President Biden’s extension on Obamacare enrollment.

Even with this new life that’s been given to public health insurance, Pennsylvania is breaking away from the Affordable Care Act marketplace. Pennsylvania is planning to save millions of dollars in health plan premiums through “Pennie,” its state-run healthcare insurance exchange that will roll out soon. This is the new trend among a group of states that are choosing to move away from the federal marketplace and opting to introduce state-run insurance exchanges.

Other states taking over their healthcare exchanges soon include New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which will begin enrollment on November 1 this year. This fall, New Mexico and Kentucky will launch and revive their exchanges, respectively. Maine is planning to debut its healthcare exchange this year while Virginia is planning to begin the process next year or in 2023.

Lawmakers in these states argue that the federal marketplace has become too costly, and they believe they can provide better service for much less. The self-contained healthcare exchanges aim to pass on the anticipated savings to the policyholders, which is great news.

Studies show that state marketplaces are attracting more consumers than the federal-run exchange, especially young adults, thanks to the promise of better savings. The policymakers claim that they can run the state exchanges more efficiently and are in a better position to respond to the needs of both residents and insurers. At the end of the day, it all boils down to getting the best deal.

Difficult Economic Times

“Over 11 million people receive coverage through federal and state exchanges, and more than 80% of these people get federal subsidies aimed at lowering their cost of insurance.”

-Healthcare.gov statistics

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused economic turmoil around the country, with millions of people losing their jobs and businesses, leaving them with no source of income. The fear of getting the virus and not being able to access the necessary healthcare is real and justified. As a result, most people are looking to sign up with the state-run exchanges to take care of their current and future health needs. By operationalizing the state-run exchanges, the policyholders will ease their residents’ burdens.

States that have their healthcare exchanges have achieved a much higher rate of enrollment compared to those that use the federal exchange. The lower premiums, as well as better consumer protection and education, have contributed to this high enrollment. This trend will likely continue, and it is an important selling point for the state-run exchange.

States Taking Control

Policyholders argue that their healthcare exchanges will allow them to control their destinies since they currently rely on the federal government. The states are hoping to continue to attract younger consumers who are more likely to be healthy, and this is a significant move towards helping the marketplaces to spread the risk. According to experts, spreading the insurance risk is a sure way to keep the premiums down.

The effort to hold down insurance premiums has continued to increase since the pandemic has increased the demand for accessible healthcare. States hope to enroll more residents in their marketplace health plans, and they have the data necessary to embark on targeted enrollment. Thanks to Penny, Pennsylvania will save $50 million every year, which they can use to support the reinsurance program that is required for individuals with very expensive healthcare needs. Furthermore, the state will have between $1.2 million to $1.6 million for navigators to aid with enrollment, an amount that is close to four times what the federal government allocates.

How Can I Sign Up For My Insurance?

No matter what state you live in, the path to health insurance can be a tough road to travel down alone. That’s why it’s worth it to get in touch with the experts at Health Plan Options Today to understand all the health insurance options that are available to you. Call the hotline at 888-375-8879 or click below to get more information from our team.

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Health Insurance After Divorce: What Are My Options?

What Happens To Health Insurance After A Divorce?

Divorce is not an easy topic to talk about. While the questions of “who gets the house”, and “what will happen with the kids?” are obviously the most pressing questions in this situation, divorce is so complex that there are likely hundreds of procedural questions that must be confronted before, during and after a split.

“I’m on my spouse’s health insurance, what will happen to me after we split?”

-The Most Important Divorce Question That No One Thinks About

After a divorce, your former spouse is supposed to cover your health insurance premiums but this only happens for a time. Many people forget that if paying the premiums is not part of the divorce settlements, you will be dropped from the other party’s health insurance plan once the divorce is settled. This is the reason why it is recommended that you know your options before taking up a health insurance plan. Here are a few options that you should consider for health insurance after a divorce.

COBRA and Divorce

A divorce will mean that you are left without your partner’s company health insurance plan. However, COBRA guarantees that you are still entitled to up to 30 months of insurance coverage (the length of the duration of cover is dependent on the circumstances of the divorce.) To qualify for COBRA extended coverage, your ex must be working in a firm with more than 20 employees. 

However, there are some states with mini-COBRA that cover businesses with less than 20 employees. once the COBRA health insurance coverage is terminated, you are required to re-apply for the same within 60 days, only this time you will be the one paying premiums and not your former spouse’s employer. COBRA is appealing to divorced individuals who have already accrued a significant amount of medical expenses as they do not have to start over once their COBRA insurance policy is terminated.

Employer Health Insurance Coverage After Divorce

After a divorce, you are eligible for health insurance from the employer provided that you are under active employment. This option is considered to be more cost-effective compared to COBRA and does not drag your ex-partner into paying your premiums. However, one thing you need to understand is that this option can only be accessed during specific periods during the year. There are unique situations that can give you special enrollment to the Employer Health Insurance Plan as it is the case with a divorce.

How Divorce Affects Obamacare Health Plan

The good thing why you should consider Obamacare health insurance is because even with your employer’s health insurance plan, you are still eligible for the latter. This is because Obamacare is either run by the state or the federal governments. Obamacare is almost similar to the employer health insurance plan since you have 60 days after a divorce to apply for coverage during a period referred to as a special enrollment period. If the 60 days lapse without you having applied for Obamacare health insurance, then you would have to wait for the regular enrollment period that takes place towards the end of the year.

Short Term Health Insurance for Divorcees

Short-term health insurance is a good option for people who cannot afford Obamacare or feel that they are likely to get formal employment in the near future. Of course not every health insurance plan matches your budget for the same. There are a number of things that you should know about short term health insurance one of them being that this option is not for people with pre-existing medical conditions. This blanket exclusion sometimes makes this option unattractive to people since Obamacare and the employer plan allow people with pre-existing conditions to enroll.

In the event of a divorce, finding the right health insurance option should not be problematic as long as you know what to look for in the right plan. Divorce is a difficult event and if your judgment is clouded, chances are that you will rush to choose a health insurance plan that is not ideal for you and your family. For this reason, be sure to use Health Plan Options Today to help find a plan that will usher in the next chapter of your life while guaranteeing good health and wellness. Click the button below or call our hotline at 888-375-8879 to get started on your journey.

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New Law Brings Online Shopping To Hospital Visits

A law that went into effect on January 1, 2021 seeks to make hospital visits less of a guessing game and more of a shopping experience.

Every January 1st, new laws go into effect across the United States. Usually by this time, the debate has been long over on most of these laws and the media attention on the passage of these laws has died down. As a result, the majority of these new regulations go unnoticed by most people. Some of these laws make changes that we happen to notice in passing, such as a highway being renamed or the expansion of a national park. Occasionally, one of these “unknown laws” ends up making major changes to the way regular people approach their lives, and the American public doesn’t notice until much later.

This was the case on January 1st, 2021, when a law that encourages price transparency for hospital visits officially went into effect. This law, which is known popularly as (you guessed it) the Price Transparency Rule may have the most impact on American healthcare since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare”, in 2010.

This new transparency law was originally passed in 2019, but has very modern implications. Under the new law, hospitals must publicly disclose the price of every item and service they provide to patients via an “easy to understand” page on their website. The aim of this law is to increase competition, which will, in the words of the law, “ultimately drive down the cost of healthcare services, making them more affordable for all patients” (see the actual law here).

How Might This Law Change Hospital Prices?

Most people will agree that the price of many hospital services is simply out of hand. The reason for this is a topic of a debate that has no single right answer.

For example, consumer advocates say that the high prices are the result of secret collaboration between hospitals and insurance companies. They believe that large health insurance networks and hospital networks have collaborated to keep costs high for non-insured people but low for insurance companies. This is totally feasible, considering that it’s no secret that major hospital networks make their money by treating hospital visits as commodities and patients as numbers.

On another hand, economists say that the price issue has emerged because in the world’s biggest free-market economy, one of our nation’s biggest businesses- medicine- does not operate in a truly free-market way. They say if people can’t shop around for the best deal, then prices can’t drop to attract new clients, and each hospital can more or less act as a monopoly to itself.

The Price Transparency Rule seeks to remove the “guessing game” factor from hospital visits.

While both those explanations and others all have some truth to them, the bottom line is that most people go into the hospital with no idea how much the stay will cost. This keeps people from visiting the hospital in the first place, as they are afraid to be saddled with a massive bill that may have a worse impact than whatever they’re visiting the hospital for in the first place. If this law does serve to increase competition and lower prices in the long-term, society will be better off for it, simply for quality-of-life reasons.

How Will Everyday People Benefit From Price Transparency?

For those in the know, there was an earlier law that made hospitals make their “chargemasters” public (a chargemaster is a list of a hospital’s services that isn’t quite a good example of the actual price of care). This law goes several steps further than that law did.

Every hospital must now post the prices for everything they charge patients for, and must list the “cash” price as well as the “insurance” price, which is likely to be much lower than the cash price. They also must post a list of costs for services that are most commonly needed at hospitals, like having a baby or getting an MRI. The new law provides a list of 300 of these services, but only 70 of these 300 are mandated to be listed by each hospital. In addition, the prices the hospitals provide must include all costs from admission to release, so there’s less room for surprise, although at the end of the day, the prices given are still estimates.

While this law may not help people who are rushing to fix emergency-room situations, this will help people comparison shop for the services we use most often, such as mammograms, X-Rays, or even psychotherapy. It makes sense that people without insurance or with high insurance deductibles will likely benefit the most from these lists.

Who Could Possibly Not Like This Law?

As you may have already guessed, the hospital industry isn’t too pleased with the passage of this law. Even before the law went into effect, the American Hospital Association (AHA) took to the courts to attempt to have the law removed from the books, saying that the law violates their First Amendment rights. This challenge was struck down by the court system, as was a later appeal by AHA lawyers in December 2020. The AHA has publicly stated that they’re not done yet, and they’ll attempt to communicate directly to the Biden administration to try to make a change.

There is one other group that is involved in the price struggles that haven’t been mentioned yet: health insurance companies. Rest assured, health insurers aren’t being left off the hook- their version of this law will be coming into effect in 2022.

If you’re in need of health insurance, don’t wait until you see a hospital bill to take action . Our plans start as low as $160/ month. Get in touch with our hotline at 888-375-8879 or click the button below and we’ll help you get a health insurance quote in 3 easy steps.

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Is There a Health Insurance Penalty in 2021?

Is health insurance required in the United States? The short answer: yes and no.

When the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “Obamacare”, was launched in 2010, one of the biggest debates surrounding the law was not the idea of “healthcare for all” or what types of health incidents the ACA covers or doesn’t cover, but the idea that the act made health insurance mandatory for all Americans. While the law did not say anything like “you must have health insurance or you’ll go to jail”, it did create a tax penalty- popularly known as “the health insurance penalty”- for anyone without health insurance. One side of the political aisle said that this idea-  which simply became known as “the mandate”-  infringed on the freedom of Americans, while the other side felt that it was everyone’s right to have affordable health insurance, and a mandated public option would help keep costs down for everyone.

The Affordable Care act was launched nearly 10 years ago, and still never fails to be a major lightning rod in Washington, D.C. and in state government offices, especially during election season. While the individual mandate was lifted on the federal level in 2019, portions of the mandate still remain in the actual Obamacare law and in some states; these portions still create plenty of discussion everywhere in the United States.

What Is The Penalty For Not Having Health Insurance?

The national health insurance mandate was not as one-sided as we may have implied. While the mandate established a tax penalty for those without insurance, it also created a special premium tax credit for people with insurance, which served to help lessen the cost of health insurance. It also created provisions to expand Medicare for lower-income families. Congress voted to remove the federally mandated penalty for not having health insurance in 2017 via a law that became effective on January 1, 2019.

Some states, however, have their own insurance marketplaces, and have created their own mandated insurance, using a state tax penalty/tax credit system that is similar to the original federal system. As of early 2021, these states are as follows:

  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • California
  • New Jersey

In addition, the District of Colombia also has its own mandate. New Mexico, Kentucky, Maine, and Virginia are all expected to open their own marketplaces within the next two years, and Maryland, Hawaii, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania have made progress on creating mandatory healthcare law for their residents as well.

Pros and Cons Upsides and Downsides To Revoking The Health Insurance Penalty

In the words of the great Sir Isaac Newton, “with every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. In the case of the removal of the health insurance mandate, people quit their health insurance when it was no longer required in order to save money. Experts estimate that as many as 4 million people quit their health insurance solely based upon the removal of the health insurance mandate.

The biggest benefit of removing the mandate, especially for healthy young people, is that without having to pay for health insurance, a little more money can stay in one’s pocket. Stories have appeared of people who have used the mandate removal to their advantage, and have gotten rid of their insurance, then actually negotiated major health costs on their own and come out ahead of the system.

The downside, of course, is what Obamacare was originally created to avoid- not having health insurance is a major risk. Due to the extreme costs of healthcare in the US, most people without insurance or major savings are only one major medical crisis away from financial ruin or bankruptcy. Consider this- the average cost of an emergency room visit in 2018 was roughly $2000, which is nothing to laugh at, considering that in the pandemic era, surveys show that 25% of Americans have no emergency savings at all.

How To Compare Health Insurance

While the healthcare marketplace is one way to shop for insurance, there are other ways to shop that include other types of health insurance, such as private insurance and short-term coverage. The team at healthplanoptionstoday.com can help walk you through your options and get coverage in 3 easy steps, just click the button below to get started.

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The Health Insurance Marketplace Is Now Open

Millions of Americans are able to take advantage of the current special enrollment period, which lasts through May 15, 2021. Here’s what to expect out of Obamacare in the near future.

With one stroke of his pen, President Biden changed our country’s access to healthcare. On Thursday, January 28, 2021, after less than two weeks in office, the Biden-Harris Administration issued two executive orders that spurred a series of initiatives that will strengthen the American health care marketplaces.

President Biden’s two executive orders directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reopen Healthcare.gov, which is the health insurance marketplace enacted by the Affordable Care Act (ACA)- more popularly known as Obamacare. These executive actions established a special health insurance enrollment period from February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021, which would allow tens of millions of uninsured Americans in 36 states to secure an affordable health insurance plan. HHS has pledged to spend $50 million on outreach campaigns that encourage uninsured individuals to visit Healthcare.gov to explore their coverage options, complete unfinished applications, and enroll in a health plan.

Access to quality healthcare is a prevalent issue in this country that affects millions of Americans across geographic, racial, and social boundaries. These healthcare-related executive orders represent the commitment that the Biden-Harris Administration made in the American Rescue Plan to expand and protect Obamacare coverage, meet the growing healthcare needs created by the pandemic and strengthen healthcare services offered by federal agencies.

The Directive’s Changes to Obamacare and Medicaid

Although this special enrollment period is the only action specified by President Biden’s executive order, these directives place the spotlight on federal agencies. When it comes to Medicaid and the ACA, Biden called for federal agencies that interact with these programs to reexamine (1) the policies that limit healthcare protections of individuals with pre-existing medical conditions under the Affordable Care Act, (2) the practices that make Medicaid eligibility difficult, (3) the practices that create barriers to enrolling in Medicaid and ACA, (4) the policies and practices that increase insurance premiums for policyholders and dependents.

While the President’s order doesn’t go into detail and provide specific insight into what actions Medicaid, HHS and their corresponding federal agencies should take, this order is likely to reverse several policies established by the previous administration. It’s clear that the Biden-Harris administration is taking a powerful stance on Medicaid Policy and preparing to reestablish Medicaid as a foundational part of the Affordable Care Act, especially during the pandemic where millions of Americans have lost their jobs and can no longer afford health insurance.

Insuring and Ensuring Women’s Health

A significant part of Biden’s executive order was his nationwide presidential memorandum that sought to protect women’s health and reproductive rights. In this memorandum, Biden rescinded aggressive policies established by the previous Administration that modified women’s access to a variety of healthcare services, and also expanded other services that pertain to women’s reproductive health and sexual health.

How Does The Health Insurance Marketplace Reopen Affect Me?

Do you have health insurance? In the last year, millions of Americans were laid off due to the pandemic and subsequently lost their healthcare insurance, and due to hardship, unfortunately did not get Cobra insurance after losing their job. Fortunately, Biden’s executive orders give uninsured individuals additional time to enroll in Medicaid or find affordable comprehensive coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Can I Buy Health Insurance That is Not Obamacare?

Many people wish to seek out other insurance options outside of Obamacare and aren’t sure where to start. Out team at Health Plan Options Today specializes in helping people explore their healthcare insurance options to get health coverage that is perfectly suited for their budget and their needs. Our experts are standing by to help you! Click the button below or call 1-888-375-8879 to start discussing your insurance options.

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Got Obamacare? Then You’re Automatically Covered For This.

Obamacare includes a “coverage bill of rights” that helps raise the standard for all American health coverage plans.

Over ten years in, the Affordable Care Act (also known as “ACA” or “Obamacare”) has become such a major part of American life that it’s almost hard to remember that it was a truly groundbreaking- and highly controversial- law upon passage in 2010. Aside from offering more accessible healthcare options for all Americans, the ACA most notably represented an overhaul to the way Americans and American companies approach healthcare. In many disadvantaged communities, healthcare coverage was the exception, not the rule, prior the passage of ACA. Although there is still a long way to go, now that has clearly shifted drastically.

Because Obamacare represents such a major change from earlier healthcare practices, some of the smaller advances it assures are often forgotten when people discuss the law, but are no less deserving of recognition.

A shining example of this is the idea of essential health benefits. This portion of the act states that there are 10 categories of service that every type of Obamacare-compliant health insurance plan must cover. In essence, the essential health benefits package is like a health coverage Bill of Rights, giving people a guaranteed minimum expectation for any Affordable Care Act-compliant health insurance plan they purchase.

What Are The Essential Health Benefits?
The 10 benefits are as follows:

  1. Ambulatory Patient Services: This is more commonly called “outpatient care” or “ambulatory care”. This is any medical care a patient receives without admission into a hospital, such as urgent care.
  1. Emergency Services 
  1. Hospitalization: This includes overnight stays as well as surgical care.
  1. Laboratory Services
  1. Mental Health Services: These services include behavioral health treatments such as therapy and counseling, as well as substance abuse disorder services.
  1. Maternity, Pregnancy, Neonatal and Postnatal Care
  1. Coverage for Prescription Drugs
  1. Habilitation and Rehabilitation Services and Devices: These are services and devices to help people obtain, maintain, or recover physical and mental skills. This covers a wide range of services, from physical therapy to speech therapy to services for differently-abled people.
  2. Preventative Care, Wellness Services, and Management for Chronic Diseases
  3. Paediatric services, including dental and eye care: This is an interesting part of the ACA essential benefits, list, as vision and oral care are not part of the adult essential health benefits.

Additional Essential Benefits

There are further benefits that should be mentioned that aren’t always included with the list of 10 “essential” benefits. Every Obamacare plan must additionally guarantee coverage for breastfeeding support and birth control. It’s also worth noting that there are 66 individual screening, assessment, and preventative care services that are fully covered by Affordable Care Act plans.

Am I Eligible For An ACA Plan With The “Essentials”?

The short answer for the majority of people is “yes!” Even if the yearly open enrollment (or perhaps, special enrollment) period has passed by, there are still other options you may pursue, such as short-term insurance or private insurance, which offer similar or better coverage options.

Our experts can help you get an affordable healthcare plan that is perfectly suited for your budget and needs. We are proud to serve the United States and have helped thousands of people obtain peace of mind through affordable health insurance plans. Click the button below or call 888-375-8879 to find the coverage options that are right for you.

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Experts Discuss Biden’s Health Insurance Marketplace Enrollment Extension

Health Insurance Experts share what they think President Biden’s new executive order means for uninsured Americans.

Last week, President Biden signed an executive order designed to address the impact COVID-19 has had upon Americans’ ability to access healthcare. President Biden’s order reopened the health insurance marketplace for a special enrollment period, and also encouraged all government agencies to review their health insurance policies. 

According to reports from the Commonwealth Fund research group, nearly 7.7 million Americans lost their job-sponsored health insurance in June 2020 alone, and many others have lost their coverage since then. In contrast, a relatively small number of those people have signed up for COBRA or new health insurance, meaning that millions of Americans are newly uninsured during the greatest health crisis our country has ever seen. Public health analysts believe that disparities like these could combine to create an even worse healthcare crisis than we’re already facing, and agree this is likely at least part of the reasoning beyond Biden’s executive order.

“…nearly 7.7 Americans lost their job-sponsored health insurance in June 2020 alone.”

– Commonwealth Fund Report: “How Many Americans Have Lost Jobs with Employer Health Coverage During the Pandemic?”

Health insurance experts at Health Plan Options Today who work directly with the uninsured have given their take on Biden’s executive order and whether they think it can help the uninsured masses. 

“The biggest concern folks seem to have is that they can’t afford health insurance- especially considering today’s financial condition- so they often see no way out”, said William G, a representative at Health Plan Options Today. “Of course, this isn’t the case, and we’ve been doing our best to educate people to the contrary. Hopefully the President’s executive order causes people to take another look at health insurance so they can get covered”.

“The biggest concern folks seem to have is that they can’t afford health insurance… Of course, this isn’t the case”

William G. HealthPlanOptionsToday Healthcare Expert

Stephanie A., another representative at Health Plan Options Today, says there are other major issues that have shaped people’s ideas of access to health insurance, especially given the United States’ unemployment rate: “Many people have no idea how COBRA health insurance works, and a lot don’t even know it exists in the first place. They just think that if they lose their job due to COVID, there are no other insurance options available.” Stephanie echoes William’s optimism for Biden’s Plan: “I really hope that the people who lost their jobs and didn’t take advantage of COBRA use the special enrollment period to their advantage.”

Overall, there is generally support for Biden’s executive order, especially considering 2020’s historically short marketplace insurance enrollment period and low enrollment numbers. Many people who missed the original enrollment period will now have a second chance at enrolling for ACA-based plans in 2021. Perhaps William G. summed it up perfectly: “I think we can all agree that no matter what, a second chance is always nice.”

Are you insured? To get your own second chance at affordable health insurance, fill out the form below and one of our agents will contact you, or call us at 1-888-375-8879.

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    Biden Reopens Obamacare Enrollment

    Don’t Have Insurance? Here’s How Biden’s Executive Order Helps You

    On January 28, with just a few quick strokes of his pen, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that changed the way many Americans access their health insurance temporarily, and may permanently change the way federal agencies- and by extension, healthcare companies everywhere- approach insurance.

    President Biden’s executive order will reopen Affordable Care Act (ACA) healthcare enrollment for a special enrollment period between February 15th and May 15th- and not just for those who are eligible for COBRA or other special coverages. The order also demands that federal agencies review their policies to make sure that healthcare truly is affordable, and to ensure their policies do not block insurance access for those with preexisting conditions, including COVID-19. Biden’s order also urged these same agencies to make other changes that will “protect and strengthen” access to healthcare in the future.

    Biden made a statement after the order’s signing, saying “As we continue to battle Covid-19, it’s even more critical that Americans have meaningful access to health care”.

    This executive order follows former president Trump’s changes to the Affordable Care Act. In 2018, Trump shortened the ACA’s enrollment period from 92 days to 15, which caused new healthcare enrollment to drop drastically. Also notably, the Trump administration and several states attempted to kill the ACA in a case that’s still pending before the Supreme Court.

    What Does Biden’s Executive Order Mean For You?

    If you’re worried because you or your family don’t have health insurance during the Coronavirus pandemic, you have another chance to secure insurance through the ACA marketplace- even if you have lost your job, stopped paying your private health insurance, or both. This will come as especially good news to those who missed because last year’s enrollment period was so short.

    What If I Want Other Healthcare Options or Miss the Healthcare Enrollment Period?

    If you miss the new Health Care Enrollment period or if you would like other healthcare options beside the ACA marketplace, there are still other options available for you, such as private insurance. The team at Health Plan Options Today can help you examine options such as these.

    If you have any other questions, need help picking the best health insurance plan for your needs or would like to enroll in health insurance, just fill out the short form below or give us a call at 1-888-375-8879 and we’ll help you get insurance at a rate you can afford.

    Need Health Insurance?

    Fill out this form and our experts will contact you to help you get the right insurance for your needs.